[If you’re reading this via email or RSS, you might need to click through to watch the video.]
In this vlog, I raise a counter-intuitive problem: there are cases in which knowing your craft well changes people’s perspectives about what you’re doing. What’s also interesting is that our evaluations change depending on which craft is under consideration.
In case you’re curious, I know people switch conclusions because of the way they’ve done them in conversations. This isn’t idle speculation.
So, here are three cases I’d like you to consider:
- Does it matter if I know exactly how to craft useful, relevant, and interesting content?
- Does it matter if I know exactly how to create content that leverages the power of social media?
- Does it matter if I know exactly how to create offers and sales pages that get you to buy stuff from me?
If your answers change, think about why they change. What are the important differences between each case that changes your evaluations? (Before you answer about the third, please watch the short video.)
Really, this isn’t about me as much is it as about the crafts in question and our assumptions about people’s motives.
If you like these types of discussions and cases, check out When Helping Someone Else Else You.
Catherine Caine says
My first thought was, “Does the ethical understanding of a skill grow apace with the skillset?” For example, if I’m truly magnificent at writing effective – read, convincing – sales pages, does that mean I usually understand the ethical implications of my work?
I think it does.
Gaining mastery of a skill means that you can understand its causes and effects. If you know that using *these* levers will get people to buy even when they can’t really afford it, then it matters. You use those deliberately, in full knowledge of whether it’s a “fair” act.
It means that you have a better chance of behaving well than people who have no idea of what they’re doing and are copying their sales pages from a book.
Jon Strocel says
I’m not sure that anyone can really do anything against their will. If they don’t want to buy what you have to offer, your sales copy isn’t going to take them from a firm no to a yes. But good sales copy can bring someone from a maybe to a yes.
All content needs to be sold at a certain level, even if the price is just the reader’s attention. How you feel about the difference between question 1 and question 3 really gets back to our own attitudes about commerce.
Kirstine Vergara says
I think it does matter. If you need to be at the top of your game, it pays that you’re good at what you do. But of course it just doesn’t stop there, you need to constantly improve your skill-set. To effectively set you goals, you need to perfect your craft.
P.S. Here’s a good read on How to Effectively Program Your Goals. 🙂
The craft question is one that comes up a lot in contemporary art. Artists these days are trying to push the extremes of the tried and true formula: delivery + content = art.
They do it by changing the doses of delivery and content, and doing so always ends badly. More delivery than content? They end up making something that’s craft instead of art. More content than delivery? They end up making something that resembles creative activism at best and an incoherent eyesore at worst.
In art, as in all communication, you need good delivery, but good delivery is useless and/or bad without good content.
I don’t think you’re talking about the ethics of good delivery in relation to a sales pitch: I think you’re talking about whether or not you feel good delivering the content you’re delivering.
Lisa Wood says
I have to say that I watched this video THREE times…and I got a different impression each time. Of course, the first time I was distracted by the whiteboard – thanks for making me smile. 😉
So I might be taking this a bit literally, but yes, I do think it matters. It matters if you’re going to meet your objective, no matter what that might be.
It matters in sales because you want to be successful in selling something. It matters in service, because if you’re in a service business you want to provide value to your clients. It also matters in relationships – because if you’re known as an expert in something, you’d better know something about what you’re talking about.
It matters no matter what.
If you’re putting something out there, you should be remotely good at it. Unless you don’t care and are just trying to take advantage of people. So I guess that brings me back to…it depends on your objective.
Mark B says
I have a thought about the different hats you talk about, although it is a bit off the main topic of this post, which is knowing what you are doing. You mention a “writer or communicator hat” and a “blogger hat”. I think that the “blogger hat” is a sub-set or ‘sub-hat’, if that makes sense, of the “communicator hat” in that a communicator is communicating something, and a blogger is also communicating something, so why is this distinction made?
To try and avoid any confusion in relation to definitions, just to be clear, I would define a communicator as someone who communicates something, whether that be an ideology or an economic concept or an opinion or anything regardless of what it is they are communicating, and can be an artist or an author (of a book, website, blog, etc.) or a public speaker or lecturer or anyone really. Using this definition, I myself am a communicator in that I am communicating my opinion on the video in this blog post, and Charlie, the author of this blog post and video, is also a communicator. Again I ask, why is this distinction between a writer or communicator and a blogger made?
Great comment. The distinction is being made because the craft of blogging is distinct from the craft of writing. It’s a square/rectangle relationship – all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.
One can be a great communicator and be a horrible writer, but it’s hard to be a great writer and a poor communicator. Likewise, one can be a great writer and terrible blogger.
So my point is that the specific elements of the craft of blogging are such that they have somewhat different techniques and best practices than those of writing. Yes, you’re right about the subhats and it’s still good to think about the context of the communication.
Mark B says
So the communicator hat and the blogger hat are the same in that something is being communicated, but the process of doing, or going about doing, each one differs?
Essentially what I’m getting at is the idea that some aspects of both hats are the same, or very similar, but, as you point out, some aspects of both hats are different.